Rob Austin is the early pace setter as the BTCC gets underway at Donington Park

Rob Austin was quickest (Photo by Marc Waller)Rob Austin is the early pace setter as the Dunlop MSA British Touring car championship gets underway at Donington Park.

After the setback of being disqualified from his best result at Brands Hatch, the Handy Toyota Avensis driver appears to be bouncing back well;

“We thought it would suit this circuit better,” he said. “On old tyres and normal running it’s a good sign early on. You can’t read into it too much because you really don’t know what everyone else is doing, but to be at the top with that much ease is very encouraging.

“We were top five pace at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago and we knew Donington Park would suit us better so we’re hoping for a good weekend. It’s all differnt in qualifying with new boots and you’ve got to put it all together so we’ll see what we can do.”

Tom Ingram had been the early pace setter but he found himself down in fourth by the end after Jack Goff in the Eurotech Honda and Jake Hill in the VW CC both beat his time.

The Team Hard cars are, so far, looking strong once again with Mike Epps up in sixth at the end of the session.

Colin Turkington was the first of the manufacturer teams in fifth for BMW, just two tenths off the top.

 Jake Hill was an impressive third (Photo by Marc Waller) Subaru are struggling again - Plato was twenty fifth (Photo by Marc Waller) Goff jumped up to second late on (Photo by Marc Waller) Epps continues to look strong (Photo by Marc Waller) Turkington was the best works car (Photo by Marc Waller) Tom Ingram had set the pace but was bumped down to fourth (Photo by Marc Waller)




The theme of successful young drivers continued behind Epps with Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Mercedes), Chris Smiley, (BTC Norlin Chevrolet), Adam Morgan (Mac Tools Mercedes) and Ash Sutton in the first of the works Subarus, making it seven different makes of car in the top ten. The average age of the entire top ten was just 26, showing how many quick young drivers are in the BTCC now with Rob Austin and Colin Turkington the two, (slightly older) Exceptions!

It was back to the more experienced drivers next with Rob Collard in eleventh in the second of the BMW’s ahead of Gordon Shedden in the best of the two Hondas. Tom Chilton was next in the Vauxhall Astra ahead of Eurotech’s Jeff Smith who is attempting to qualify two different cars at two different circuits today with a helicopter trip up to Oulton park after FP2 to qualify his Mini Challenge car. Eurotech Team Co-ordinator and Mini Challenge driver Jo Polley will be accompanying him to qualify her car too.

Fifteenth was Mat Jackson’s Shredded Wheat Ford Focus ahead of Aron Taylor-Smith in the first of the MGs who rounded out the top half of the field. By Marc Waller 



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